There aren’t many things I regret. Not beyond the in-the-long-run insignificant ones anyway, like cutting my hair short or not taking the new route, which would have saved me 30 minutes of driving in heavy traffic.
Recently though I have come to realise the consequences of my actions from years ago. There was no drama, crazy decisions made on the spurt-of-the-moment with hair flying wildly in the air. No tattoos I woke up with, no shaven eyebrows, as fun as it would be fun to write (and read) about now. The decision I made was sensible, honourable even. One thing it was not however, was fully-informed.
I’m very good at criticizing myself, like many of you might have noticed yourselves to be, too. I’m particularly good at it when times are hard and feelings of vulnerability strike. Exactly when self-compassion would go a much longer way… Anyway. Picking on self seems to be the default mode sometimes, just like spotting all the half-empty glasses there are, or potentially might be, in the vicinity.
The decision I have made a long time ago has got serious, long term consequences for me. It has cost me a great, great deal of work and effort, not to mention money. Most sadly though, it is costing me the kind of opportunities that I’m in need of right now.
Let me tell you, I could make the previous paragraph much longer. In fact, there are times that I do just that, in my head. Here and now, I choose not to however. Not only for your sake but mine too. Regrets are just thoughts afterall.
I should have checked….
If I hadn’t done that, I would be exactly where I need to be right now. Would I?
Thoughts of regret might lead to powerful emotions. Self-blame, shame, disappointment, anger, fear, you name it. But they can be questioned. And they can also be placed in and out of the spotlight of our attention: we might change actors that we offer the stage to. We might choose to move on from them, towards what helps us thrive.
Regrets are about the past and might leave us feeling like we have lost an opportunity forever. That we have messed up in a way that made things unfixable. That things are done, for good. That it’s over. The feeling of finality might be overwhelming and immobilizing. It might strip us of hope and might make it impossible to even entertain an alternative plan. It takes us away from the present moment where comfort, and solutions, can be found.
“Where there is ruin, there is hope for a treasure.” Said Rumi.
Exploring the present moment, digging deep, not allowing hope to die and being open to what’s underneath the rubble is what I choose to do today.